East Japan great earthquake disaster

A major earthquake occurred off Miyagi prefecture in eastern Japan on March 11, 2011, before 3 pm. After that, a huge tsunami of 16.7 meters high hit the coast. It is said that more than 15,000 people were sacrificed because the tsunami destroyed most buildings of lowland and uprooted them into the ocean.

After tsunami, 津波の後

lso, since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station has caused meltdown, local residents are still unable to return due to radiation fear of local pollution.

Japan is a country with many natural disasters. Once in several years, a devastating earthquake happens somewhere. Unfortunately, even with modern science and technology it is impossible to predict it.

The capital city of Japan

The capital city of Japan is Tokyo. But the definition of the capital is vague, so it is up to the interpretation how old was.

Flag of Japan, 日本国旗

Currently, Tokyo is the capital of Japan, because the Emperor lives in Tokyo and the center of politics is also Tokyo.

But some people say that Kyoto was the capital because the Emperor was in Kyoto about 150 years ago. In addition, the center of politics at that time was Edo (the old name of Tokyo).

The political center of about 1300 years ago was in Kamakura, Kanagawa.

Tsushima’s Stolen Buddha Issue

In 2012, an incident occurred in which two Buddha statues were stolen from the Temple of Tsushima in Nagasaki Prefecture. They are important cultural properties of Japan. The culprit was a Korean thief who was later arrested and convicted, but only one Buddha statue has been refunded.

Stolen Buddha statue of Tsushima, 盗難された対馬の仏像
©︎SANKEI PHOTO

The Korean side insists that “They regained what was once looted by Japan” about the Buddha statue that has not yet been returned. But there is no basis for that.

Perhaps the Korean side is based on complex thoughts on Japan. Since Japan invaded the Korean Peninsula at the end of the 16 th century and Korea was annexed to Japan from 1910 to 1945.

Takeshima Issue

Takeshima is a remote island off the coast of Shimane prefecture in Japan. Both Japan and South Korea claim their ownership of the island. Because it is located almost equidistant from Japan and Korean Peninsula.

Takeshima, 竹島
Takeshima is the place of the pin.

Under the agreement, both countries can fish in the waters around the island. But, the Korean side has base on the island and is effectively controlling. As a result, fishermen on the Japanese side can not fish there.

However, the opinion of Japan is “Takeshima is the territory of Japan”. Since it is written in the old document that it is the territory of Japan. Therefore, Japan requires the International Intermediary Court to decide its ownership, but since Korea does not agree, it has not received a trial. Because the trial requires the mutual consent of both parties.

This situation resembles the Spratly Islands in the Philippine Sea, In the point that the opposite country has ignored the trial and is controlling  effectively.

By the way, Korea occupied Takeshima when Japan was disarmed after the Pacific War.

Comfort women issue

Japan and Korea have issues that can not be solved well.  Comfort women issue, Takeshima issue, Tsushima Buddha statue theft issue, and so on.

Comfort woman is a woman whose prostitution was forced for Japanese soldiers during the Pacific War. There was such a woman also in the Philippines. It is said that many young women from the Korean Peninsula, which was a part of Japan at that time, were forcibly taken away by the Japanese army. It is an inhuman act. If it is fact.

Certainly, women called comfort women existed. But no one can find evidence that the Japanese army abducted them. Therefore, the truth can be presumed that the local brokers gathered young women by legal and illegal means. And the brokers had mediated prostitution for the Japanese army to them. Because of necessity the military doctor was in charge of their health care. For women in that position, the Japanese army and the external brokers might have looked the same. Therefore, the Japanese side recognizes that “the Japanese army has just used a merchant”. However, the Korean side said “Japanese army and those dealers were united”.

Comfort women statue. 慰安婦像

As a matter of fact, the comfort women’s standard of living was very high, and they are told that they were living well in the war when the supplies were short. Therefore, there were many women who became comfort women themselves, unwillingly due to the circumstances of families. There was a Japanese woman prostituting for soldiers of the US military who had occupied Japan even in postwar Japan.

On the other hand, there should have been a lot of women who were forced to become comfort women without preparing at all. Many people who received poor treatment were also among them. These circumstances are very unhappy. However, unfortunately it is a common story under war in poor times.

In this connection, This issue has been settled several times in the past,  by Japan apologized to the former comfort women and paid a support fee. However, the Korean government stopped performing each time, and they broke the promise. As a result, the Japanese side says “already settled it” but the Korean side is saying “insufficient it”. It is continuing. And for the some of former comfort women who became elderly, support funds from Japan are not distributed yet.

Japan and Korea

In Korea, The Pyeongchang Olympic Games will start today. Most of Filipinos may not be familiar with the winter Olympic Games.

The nearest foreign country from Japan is Korea. Both countries had exchange since ancient times. I have heard that language of Japanese and Korean have the same grammar. Before the modern age, advanced Chinese culture was often brought to Japan via the Korean Peninsula. One of the ancestors of the Emperor is the empress from the Korean Peninsula.

Flags of Japan & Korea, 日韓の国旗

By the way, 73 years ago, there was no Korea country. From 1910 to 1945 the Korean Peninsula was also Japan.

It was not desirable, But since the Korean Peninsula is surrounded by China, Russia (Soviet) and Japan, at that time it was not able to stand the position of an independent country.

However, after the end of the Pacific War Korea has been independent from Japan. And there are many Koreans in Japan who continue to live in Japan.

Greeting

General greetings in Japanese are as follows.

Hisatsu, 挨拶

Snow

Japan is a country long in the north and south. Many snowfalls and piled up in the northern region and the inland parts of eastern Japan. It snowed in Tokyo the day before yesterday.

Snow, 雪

Snow falls several times a year also in other areas except Okinawa Prefecture which is the southernmost area. And sometimes snow will be piled  up few centimeters to several tens of centimeters. However, in except snowy areas people are not used to snow and sometimes traffic is confused. The operation of the train stops and some drivers give up driving and leave the car on the road. In such areas the government can not cost snow countermeasures for just a few days.

Temples and Shrines

There are temples and shrines in various places in Japan. The temple is the base of Buddhism. The shrine is a place to worship indigenous gods and historical person.

Yes, Christians and Muslims may be hard to understand, but there are many gods in Japan. Buddhist Buddha is also a foreign god.

Most of the indigenous gods shield and protect specific areas such as mountains and the ocean. But Shogun Ieyasuke Tokugawa who existed 400 years ago, is also enshrined as a god in Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

Torii, 鳥居
A uniqueness gate called “torii(鳥居)” is a sign of a shrine.